OE Watch Commentary: In the earliest years of Mexico’s raging drug war, relocation to less violent regions of the country resulted in mass internal migration or movement abroad. Today, families are still relocating because of violence, armed robbery and kidnapping threats, but a trend of purchasing armored vehicles for personal safety, which first appeared two years ago, is now exploding in popularity. When this trend was first reported in 2015, buyers were predominantly drug traffickers, affluent families and politicians. However, Ballistics Group CEO Fernando Echeverri indicates in the excerpted article from El País that this is no longer the case and that today’s market is more diversified given that independent professionals and entrepreneurs in all sectors are looking for protection from violence. Echeverri further indicated that cars produced by his company are indeed effective, as the work done by his company has thwarted attempted murders and kidnappings on multiple occasions, though actual statistics are not reported. In terms of demand, the highest overall sales of armored vehicles are reported in Monterrey (Mexico’s industrial epicenter) and the Federal District, where common street cars can be retrofitted into certifiable armored vehicles for $25,000-$55,000.
Apart from news articles simply reporting that the sale of armored vehicles are on the rise, the excerpted article from Motorpasion provides statistics to support this idea. For example, the sale of bulletproof vehicles in Mexico rose 10 percent between 2015 and 2016, with a growing demand from the private sector. Demand also is based on the type of protection one may need as indicated in the excerpted article from La Jornada. Mauricio Garibaldi Sanchez of Blindajes Alemanes, a private sector armored vehicle company, indicated that vehicles are generally built to protect against three different weapon types, including .44 Magnum revolvers, AK-47s, and AR-15s. However, this does not mean that vehicles are not available to protect against higher caliber weapons.
Garibaldi Sanchez further indicated that consumer demand in Mexico City is for armor that can withstand .44 caliber bullets as these are the weapons most commonly used in car robberies. In closing, Garibaldi Sanchez commented that in 2017, 23 percent of his sales came from new customers. He clarified this comment by stating that before, these customers were not concerned with purchasing armored vehicles and tied this necessity to insecurity. End OE Watch Commentary (Fiegel)